Last week my family celebrated my dad’s (Big D) retirement party over the July 4th weekend. He worked at the Post Office for 32 years before retiring. My brother rented a cabin in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee that was literally in the middle of the mountains. It was a really nice place with plenty of room for my parents, my brother’s family and Sarah and me. It had a pool table, which I believe I had the best record. 😉 My dad was actually the best skill-wise, but there were a few games I managed to win regardless. We actually ended up cooking in the 3 nights we were there instead of going out. Saved money and we could just chill at night and drink vs worrying about everyone going in the same car and trying to find somewhere to go. The area was actually CROWDED beyond what I was expecting. It is certainly a heavy tourist attraction. The roads around that area were also insanely steep and windy. You couldn’t drive much more than 20 MPH over certain roads.
During our two full days there, we went to Dollywood one day, which is a really massive amusement park there created by Dolly Parton. A quick aside, Dolly Parton is like a hero in this area. Personally, I was looking forward to going but quickly realized there was not a whole lot to do there because I don’t like roller coasters haha. It was a nice place to walk around and there was a ton of food, but it was also about 100 degrees. Appetite just doesn’t really shoot up in those conditions and everyone was sweating A LOT just walking around. Sarah and I did get some dipping dots though which were on point. Abbey, my little niece, was also too small to ride most rides without supervision and she was even turned away from certain rides even with a parent. My brother and sister-in-law (Justin and Rebecca) were nice enough to pay for everyone’s tickets, which were not cheap. That night when we were chilling at the cabin, I saw a black bear walking down the street. My dad also saw it and at the time we were on two different floors. Neither of us got a picture because the woods blocked our view. Really cool to see though. Another quick aside, Black Bears are a BIG DEAL in these parts. Clearly, they are numerous in this area and are seen as somewhat of a mascot in this area.
The second day we were there, Sarah and I went to the Titanic Museum. That I enjoyed. It was a nice place with some really interesting features. Not the cheapest museum though at $30 a piece, but we had fun. Later that day, my brother busted out a surprise for Big D. A Post Office Pinata, that my dad got to smash to let out years of frustration for a poorly run organization, which is sadly only getting worse. Unfortunately, my dad did not really enjoy most of his time there and dealt with a lot of BS during his time there as well as long hours. That’s one reason why we wanted to have a big party for him and then certainly allow him to smash the hell out of pinata representing it!
Sunday we had to clean the house before leaving at the early checkout time of 10 AM. We drove through Downtown Gatlinburg before heading back and it was a cool place. Luckily traffic was not bad so early. We also stopped at a really nice viewpoint of the mountains before officially leaving. The drive back was not fun though. It took about 9 hours to get home for a trip that should have lasted about 6 and a half hours. Traffic was INSANE. Luckily, I took the next day off as a chill day at home.
Overall though, the trip was really fun. I can definitely see doing a trip similar to that each year, where everyone can meet up for a few days being a really a good idea.